When it comes to anatomy apps on the iPhone, users are spoilt for choice. There is a huge range available ranging from flashcards to reference textbooks and more.
In a fantastic development, Visible Body has been released on the iPhone. When we reviewed Visible Body for the iPad, we were greatly impressed by its combination of anatomical detail, clinical correlations and novel approach to anatomy noting ” Visible Body is a dazzling demonstration of human anatomy”.
With the release of Visible Body for iPhone, it will be interesting to see if it is possible to maintain the high standards previously set.
Launching Visible Body takes a few moments and presents the user with a contents screen. Here it is possible to select the particular system and then a particular viewpoint e.g. Muscular System and then Upper Arm.
There is an excellent range of systems covered as shown in the screenshots.
There are 270 different views in total spread over 11 systems. It is also possible to change the gender of the 3D model while selecting a particular view. This impressive range of views makes up for the fact that there is no viewpoint of the complete 3D model. This omission does not impact upon what is a complete range of anatomical viewpoints.
Selecting a view and navigating through the menus is intuitive and simple, leading to the real strength of the application-the 3D model. Visible Body for iPhone makes excellent use of multitouch gestures to manipulate the model including pinch to zoom, rotate and pan. The controls are intuitive and it is very easy to learn how to quickly manipulate the model into a desired position.
Tapping on a structure highlights the structure and names it in a box at the top of the screen. There is a small plus symbol next to the name which can be used to show which system and the location of the selected structure. There are also options to show, hide or fade the structure which enables the user to understand the complex interplay between various anatomical structures.
At the bottom of the screen is a number of other options including Views, Definition, Actions, Help and Search. The Views button returns the user to the original selection of anatomical views whilst the Definition tab provides useful information related to the selected structure. The Actions tab offers a range of other view options such as the ability to refresh the model, change gender etc. Finally, the Help and Search tabs are self-explanatory.
The search function is particularly effective; typing a keyword into the search form brings up a list of structures. If the structure isn’t in the current model, one can add it. If it is in the model, one can select it or center the view on the structure. However, the search function does suffer from one or two drawbacks.
First, there can be a noticeable delay while searching and second, the search result will only be displayed with the current model. For example if you are looking at a nervous system view and add an artery it can be challenging to understand the anatomy. (See below for a screenshot of the left coronary artery added to a view of the nerves of the head and neck.)
- Gorgeous, detailed 3D anatomical model
- Clever use of multitouch gestures to adjust 3D model
- Accompanying text contains a high level of detail
- Memory intensive so therefore subject to occasional slowdowns and unresponsive (as such this is only recommended for users of iPhone 4/4S)
- Search function displays search results in current model which is not always appropriate
- Visible Body for iPhone is just as impressive as the iPad version
- The level of anatomical detail is very high and nothing major has been lost in the transition to the smaller device
- At $9.99, Visible Body is a steal when compared to other decent anatomy apps available for the iPhone
- Visible Body has many uses from patient education, to medical students and medical educators. Hands down one of, if not the best, anatomy app available for the iPhone.